february, 2002


the basic set of schoenberg's 4th string quartet

I think Lex almost proved something about twelve-tone by induction in Theory the other day. Perhaps I was just a little tired, and was filling in the gaps in his sentences with material from my other classes (as I did in the too-hot Scheuer room at a lecture the other night with Ross), but I think all he needed was a basis case and an explicit inductive step. Which are, granted, a lot to be missing, but had that idea gone further, that's the direction it seemed to have been headed. This is why I'm in Math 9 and CS 22 simultaneously, and even Medieval-Renaissance Music and our forays into Die Neue Wiener Schule's dodecaphonicism dovetail now and then, at the extreme poles of Western music.

These few days have been rather chill, but involve more small things than seem to leave room for regular reading. I had a piano lesson with Tony Wednesday, in which it was decided I'd work on Bach chorales, three of Schönberg's Sechs Kleine Klavierstücke, and eventually reducing string quartets at sight. That afternoon he coached Midnight on the Schumann. Then African, during which my quads could barely hold out for more than a minute of parallel-position deep plié, doing pelvic contractions and wondering why I seem to be so out of shape. Joel-O and I came home starved, and started gobbling the broccoli raab sucks! Broccoli Raab pie Rebecca had made, only to discover that Broccoli Raab is Bitter as Fuck, and abandoned it to the least vegan meal we could think of -- omelets with goat cheese and jarlsberg; milk; chocolate ice cream for dessert. Later that night as I coöpted Joel into helping me drag couches to and fro -- the big ugly one out of my room and into the dining room, where it is comfortably sinkable; and the small pine-and-black-cushion IKEA loveseat into mine, where it is put to much better use --, Rebecca happily speared the raab piece by piece, relishing the vegan nastiness and requesting that the event appear online. Your sui generis eating habits have been duly posted, dear roommate.

Yesterday saw more unintelligible twelve-tone analysis -- Webern on crack if he too believes in Schönberg's philosophy that "twelve tone composition aims primarily at comprehensibility" -- but I like the music of it more I listen to it. To demonstrate some idea of the theory, Lex put a random row of Schönberg's on the board (above), and I think I annoyed everyone else in the class (in which I now seem to be the only girl) by immediately identifying it as the Basic Set from the Fourth String Quartet. Lex was impressed (with that and my knowledge of hexachordal combinatorality); I was quite pleased, even if it is one of only two rows I could identify (the other being Berg's Violin Concerto row, unique for its succession of major thirds). Claire was going to come over for dinner that night, and eventually did, but instead of the curry I'd planned (just about all that could be made with what was left -- we here in Third South are in desperate need of a car for grocery shopping trips!), we ended up with tortellini and leftover soup before hopping the shuttle to orchestra. The syncopation in the Saint-Saëns is going to drive Daniel or the winds crazy, I think. Oliver and I ran to Tarble in the break, speaking German (vielleicht kann ich so mein Deutsch nicht total vergessen).

I came back and thought about brownies or something chocolate and vegan for the Lover of Raab, but we had no vanilla, and I had no time. I decided to attack the learning curve in the powerful math side of LaTeX while simultaneously using it to prepare the homework for Math 9 that was due the next day. This was interrupted for Dip, when I thought I was meeting Ross beforehand but ended up trudging alone past Crumhenge and under the SEPTA tracks, to the water where I heard squeals. Laurel, Alyssa, Ross, Roban, and I all submerged ourselves very quickly, and then repaired to the Barn for tea. And then more math. Which kept me up -- well, for a good long while, let's just say, listening to Schönberg's Das Klavierwerk, which, as a disc as a whole, is pretty cool, which is fortunate, because you can't tell where one Stück ends and another begins.

And today was just a grey, low blood-sugar Friday, grey and glowing, with oppressively high barometric pressure in the air, or something that made everything seem as if it was upped a few atmospheres in some scientific testing jar. The air was stale and spring-like at the same time, and certainly the little purple crocuses poking out of the shortcut behind the Black Cultural Center and across the President's Lawn to campus didn't seem to understand the difference. (I hope they don't freeze when this thaw reverses.) Underhill's orange counter was welcoming, as was its new copier that doesn't destroy your copy cards, and new PCs (plus one nice G4); more Schönberg behind the desk (all four string quartets). Showered the Crum microörganisms off my body, and then stared at things for a while -- painted my nails alternating red and orange. Is this an aesthetic whim or a sign of my declining mind, I wondered aloud to the pleasantly-omnibarnpresent Alyssa? It was clattering windy, whipping the trees outside the apartment together clackingly, and a lit cigarette cherry across the pavement outside the Pointe. Rockwell Church ("jam correctly," Ross admonished at my departure) with Nadav, Jeanne, Anni, and kids, was nice, Joti mimicking Doppler effects on his guitar, and even Geneva didn't make me cry on this bloated grey day. But it did make my thoughts wander.


...Sonne der Liebe, willst du nie mehr scheinen,
Um meine bittern Tränen mild aufzutrocknen?

...Die Erde atmet voll von Ruh' und Schlaf,
Alle Sehnsucht will nun träumen.
Die müden Menschen geh'n heimwärts,
Um im Schlaf vergeßnes Glück
Und Jugend neu zu lernen!
Ich stehe hier und harre meines Freundes;
Ich harre sein zum letzten Lebewohl.

Ich sehne mich, o Freund, an deiner Seite
Die Schönheit dieses Abends zu genießen.
Wo bleibst du ...? Du läßt mich lang allein!
O Schönheit! O ewigen Liebens-Lebenstrunk'ne Welt!
...Er fragte ihn, wohin
Er führe und auch warum es müßte sein.

I'm still shaking. I'd been listening to my 1948 Bruno Walter Carnegie Hall recording of Mahler's (oh, but who else's?!) Das Lied von der Erde for the past few days, letting the sounds carve patterns in my ears before I heard Orchestra 2001 perform it this evening. The New York Phil is wonderful, as are the soloists, but that recording from over fifty years ago, which has been multiply remastered, is scratchy, and sounds like an old LP on a dusty grammophone. And recordings never do a piece justice.

They opened with Crumb's Ancient Voices of Children, which was less ridiculous than I'd expected, and even powerful at moments -- at least, that was the adjective I used to myself at the time, which has since been dwarfed and drowned by the Mahler. In the latter, Suzanne DePlantis and Stuart Neill's voices were rich and well-trained, even though the tenor could have possibly used a little more facial expression when asserting Was geht mich denn der Frühling an! / Laßt mich betrunken sein!. But the last movement -- and the composer knew this -- when he showed Bruno Walter the score to the last movement of the (»Der Abschied« "The Farewell") piece, Mahler asked him, »Was glauben Sie? Ist das überhaupt zum Aushalten? Werden sich die Menschen danach nicht umbringen?« ("What do you think? Is this too much to bear? Won't people kill themselves afterwards?") --I wasn't dead, but I was shaking. I cried throughout the whole half hour of the last movement, reminiscient of certain instances of last fall almost, proving that what I'd alleged to my roommates about my current stability was, if not a bald-faced lie, at least not the full truth. Or proving that Mahler sits in the same place in my heart as was previously joint-occupied by another German. I hadn't seen this live, and with supertitles (projected, semi-coincidentally, by ex-Swattie Eric Haeker '00) -- which (as I was proud to be able to realize) were mostly poorly translated and too abbreviated (not his fault), but which served a purpose -- and it struck me full-on. All thoughts I'd had about the Schönberg-reduced score being inadequate for this quite-symphonic piece were mostly gone by the penultimate »Der Trunkene im Frühling« and had totally disappeared by the last movement. Unglaublich. Thought lightly scored, the texture was rich, every note placed linearly towards Mahler's 1911 death (five months after which this piece was premiered). It was as if Mahler had scored my last semester in Vienna.

I came out, as I said, still shaking. Rachel postponed our rehearsal and asked if I was okay; I nodded wobbily, explained that the piece had been unconscionably beautiful, and went into the bathroom to finish sobbing and splash cold water on my face. I went downstairs, and re- ran into Eric, who was there "on a [supertitle] gig." He'd started a company with his crazy pothead Bach-meets-Xenakis mathematics of musical texture ideas, and is now hosting ice sculpting multimedia displays in the galleries of Philly, getting bigwigs to fund him to further this venture. I told him to hire me in a year and a half when I would be job-searching, to finish that viola piece he'd been writing when last I knew him, and reminded him that he still owed me dinner from almost two years ago.

The past few days have been less traumatic than the past few hours (and I mean wonderfully traumatic with respect to the Mahler!), though they didn't seem so at the time. Saturday began with a PYO sectional at 8, and then going half an hour over with the Eroica. Maestro pointed me out in the middle of rehearsal, announcing loudly to the rest of the orchestra that I'm the only one who ever watches him, and I always have. "And she does it because she knows I love her." Oliver and I babbled about Vienna while we purchased bananas from WaWa and a baguette from LeBus for my apartment, catching the late train back. Mark (Angelillo) took Rebecca and me on a much-needed grocery shopping trip, and then from there to Delaware, where I found out the hard way that the only form of accepted ID in that state is a valid driver's license, and even though I had five forms of ID on me, all of which stated the same birthdate (over 21 years ago) and had the same picture on them, none of them was the only thing that they would accept. Bitches and hos. Mark let me punch him on the empty-handed way back, then shushing me and playing mellow Beck; I kicked the shit out of one of the peach dining-room walls and made a few scuff marks (which later came off). Be careful what you wish for, I guess -- I had been wanting to be carded ... still. Bitches and hos. I was furious, not to mention embarrassed.

Joel-O and an '03 transfer Sarah cooked the best food I've had in a while, fresh that morning from the Italian Market in the city. Fresh pasta; succulent kalamata olives that I actually liked(!); ripe tomatoes; parmesan that tastes like its name ... such goodness. Gabe rounded out the dinner crowd to six, after which and coffee five of us went down to first north's "Chester Road Speakeasy" in honor of Mara's 22nd birthday. I had had intentions to work, but since I'd been up since 6:15 a.m. being productive, and since a glass or two of Beaujolais with dinner wasn't exactly propelling me headlong towards my desk, I attired myself in something like period garb, put my hair up, and joined the throng two floors down. Stupid things transpired. Got to sleep at a reasonable hour, missing a conversation due to my utter somnolence.

Today began with banana french toast (bananas reclaimed from downstairs Rae, who'd strung them together as a skirt) à la Gravity's Rainbow, chapter one -- bananas both in the egg dipping mash, and then sliced between the resulting toast with butter and copious powdered sugar. Alyssa laughed at the mess I made with the sugar; Ross laughed at the source of the idea. Homework progressing. Made a lightswitch plate like Rebecca's, using liquid nails instead of the dried-up super glue in the closet. A wonderfully killing concert--

--god, diese Schönheit! Post-concert, the recording is not a quarter as powerful as was the experience -- I can tell this will be irreproducible, short of live. I'm not going to translate the lines at top; they won't be done justice. And they're all but empty without the music. Lorca (as used in Ancient Voices) speaks to their effect:

I have lost myself in the sea many times
with my ear full of freshly cut flowers,
with my tongue full of love and agony.

meets my teaball

You wouldn't think Orbital and Cornershop (Gorbychov?!) would mesh too well with plainchant from the fifth century or so, but given a sunny afternoon peach room and an armchair to match the old green couch we used to have in Madison, a pine-green Teekanne of Earl Grey in my new teaball, blue saucer with a rosy teacup on a chair, organic sugar mixed in with white cane in the coffeehouse sugarcellar, authentic Genuardi's half-and-half, (I've finally accepted that I need cream and sugar in my black tea, which I somehow thought a heathen practice for years -- I guess it comes from having been weaned on herbal), and my Yudkin book (Music in Medieval Europe, which word I've finally learned how to spell without the intervening etymological 'a', mediaeval) on my lap, somehow it does. Ross is grooving in a Persianesque pillbox hat to whichever track of the discs in his five-CD changer happens to be rocking the third floor; I'm sleepily perusing chant and breathing the tunes of the middle ages' Lesser Doxology on top of Air.

Oops, there went my naptime.

How do I look?
--Very good. I must say I'm amazed.
I am a very stylish girl.

Rebecca told me to take off the purple knee-high stockings I had on for my interview, and she was right. I'll postpone the christening of those Japanese lacy presents from Alyssa until it's warmer, anyhow.

More teaball Earl Grey this morning as I finished typesetting my math homework, house listening inspired by Ross's Phoenix article, in which he mentions not the Sacrebleu which I absorbed in intervals in Munich, but a new Dmitri from Paris album. Wondering why, even though my discman has an AC adaptor going in to the wall, it still wants me to put new IKEA double-A's in it. This math homework could arguably be completed much faster away from a computer, but I rather like it here, taking the learning curve of the math environment of TeX slowly, and learning how to draw boxes, correctly set tables, and use floor and sum notation, at the same time writing Perl scripts either to be translated into the pseudocode ("algorithmic language" -- mathematicians apparently consider computer programs pseudolanguage; people like me who had BASIC and up with their pablum consider the abstracted math type pseudocode), or to do the prime factoring for me (in a problem to prove that Euclid's method of finding the greatest common multiple of two ridiculous numbers is, indeed, faster -- and they expected me to really use a four-function calculator and not script it, ha). And even if the damn thing won't print, even with lpd restarted, it's beautifully set.

orange:~/school/math> lpr 02-07-02.homework.ps
lpr: connect: No such file or directory
jobs queued, but cannot start daemon.

I had an interview that day, which is why I pulled out the Viennese skirt so classically brown wool and A-line that, but for the leather stripe down the front and back, my mom could have bought it in her day, and why Rebecca hooked me up with a white sweater, as all possible other tops were -- like most of my clothing at this point -- dirty. "Dressed for success," Joel-O put it, and I felt pretty good about it. That and the cute MaNGo jacket I wore into the city also meant I got more than my share of catcalls and honks, at which I was unpleasantly surprised. Forgotten that it comes with the territory, kinda.

Got to the Institute for Research in Cognitive Science at 34th and Walnut by way of a free train (possibly for the same reason as the honks I got, so I guess it has its perks, too), to find the big red-haired Reed graduate John Bell, followed by the prof Steven Bird, for whom he's working. The two of them explained what they needed an ling undergrad for, and I outlined my background in that and in CS -- this decision to minor in that department is the best decision I've made in a long time, I think -- and they said I'd be "a marvelous asset to our team" or some such phrase. Rock on; I'm so excited. Not only is this the first real job I'll have ever had, in that I'll be doing something about which I actually know something, but (and for precisely that reason, I guess) it sounds damn cool. As far as I understand it so far, I'll be transcribing linguistic data "which has never seen the light of day" from a Cameroon language, and preparing it and other organized data for CD-ROM publication, as well as working on web interfaces for the above in PHP and MySQL. Um, could you have found me a job that I'd like more at this point? (Answer: probably not.) And on the UPenn payscale, I'm no longer making McDonald's wages.

So I came home elated, but exhausted (four hours' sleep the night before -- ah, LaTeX), and, after hitting Ben's photo gallery opening (which I very much liked, for reasons I couldn't articulate), slept for about an hour before the barn kitchen became Japanese-plus-house (?) with the frying of Moosewood tempura and the grooving to funky music, the occasion being that Ross's parents were in the area. I like them a lot, especially his dad, with whom I'd spoken a little French while we were chilling in Paris that day, and with whom I now spoke auf deutsch for a while, which was cool. About ten people were present for the dinner extravaganza, I think, including a post-photo Ben, probably tireder than I was; Gabe; Alyssa; the 'rents ... Carl Hoffman started a percussionistic chopsticks-on-china banging, which was cool, but the entire duration of which I was torn between enjoying it and thinking, if you chip my goddamn new china ... (new square blue plates at IKEA Thursday afternoon). Others washed dishes (I atoned by doing the load tonight) while Gabe kneaded my shoulder like bread dough, getting a knot out of my neck that I'd thought was a pinched nerve when I woke up Thursday with about half a normal range of motion in my head. I can still feel the effects of his fingers today -- I've never had a massage like that before, and the experience starts me thinking that I should perhaps start seeking out this kind of treatment more often, either from friends or even professionally. My entire left deltoid is painfully soft. Playing this morning was not therefore a challenge, per se, but it took a little thinking to keep that entire muscle slack while sawing away at Dvorák New World. I had designs of doing homework, but those faded with fatigue, and sugar-on-my lips cloves.

This morning, PYO trooped in Verizon Hall (how I hate that a company gave its name to this acoustic marvel) in the interiorally gorgeous Kimmel Center, and played Dvorák's Ninth sitting interspersed with the Philly Orchestra, under Maestro Christoph Eschenbach. Since we're such a large group, we got split into two suborchestras, so I only got to play the first two movements, but just that was pretty awesome. Sat behind my new teacher, who poked my stand partner and told him to be nice to her student. Wish I could have heard (or played!) the concert tonight.

Because Oliver, Lisa, and I missed our train back, we lunched at Samosa, and then caught the Market East 2:17 back. Naptime for too long, but I think I needed it. Michelle came over and made an coconut milk and lemongrass soup that I loved, which Rebecca and her grill pan quietly subverted with some eggplant and mushroom, and cinnamon mints afterwards. Went over to the faculty dance concert, which I didn't like, and which with the exception of Kemal's piece was dumb, and left with Claire in tow at intermission. Fed her noir litchee Chinese black tea and Swedish gingerbread, after which she rigged up a spice-drying rack from a flashlight-and-fire-escape-hunted stick and rehung our wire baskets. Made a stab at figuring out if I was dumb was it just the choreographers, came to a lovely stalemate and then washed dishes until the hot water ran out.

Dmitri from Paris is now accompanying what will soon be homework, Claire on the loveseat translating Latin odes; me about to attack the CS before the night before it's due. Sacrebleu, wie die Zeit verfliegt!

Quite possibly the stupidest thing I could have done, time-management-wise, was to stay up making valentines with my adorable roommate Rebecca tonight. I came home from African starving and exhausted, having gotten most of the moves (or at least, I felt like I did, as did my recently-overworked deltoids and especially quads) which meant I was dead tired. I started munching on things while Rebecca made the heart-shaped pasta her mother had sent in the mail, failing to open a beer from our little beer fridge with a lighter but soon resorting to the bottle opener. I had such plans to go to bed early, to do my homework which will be due Friday, to work on this Telemann concerto a little. Especially since I haven't particularly liked Valentine's Day since fourth grade, with the possible exception of freshman year in college.

But Rebecca is meticulously creative, possessive of the kind of aesthetic which collects pretty pieces of paper -- magazine inserts; old calendars; brochures -- and combines them in multiple cutout with her heart-shaped hole puncher; stickers of all shapes sizes colors; construction paper; semi-transparent envelopes; a silver pen and a sharpie; and a tiny electronic label-making machine, to produce wonderful unique valentines of the Martha Stewart school découpagité but not design. Her well-articulated cursive script rounds out the whole product to such a degree of cuteness that I couldn't refuse to take part in the creation of such little love missives. Stupid cupid or no (whom India's religious right, I read in the Times today, has attacked as the avatar of evil Western culture).

I pulled out the Klimt 2001 planner that someone had given me for Christmas last year, unused because it was too bulky but saved for the pretty damn decent reproductions of many of his paintings, and went to town with the label maker. I have plans to be a big big dork and scan some of these valentines before I stuff them in the college mailboxes (should I just use package slips? They're mostly too big to fit in the tiny post office boxes in the Parrish mailroom). A few are going out overseas, too (I found a wonderful image to incorporate into one for Martin, whose birthday tomorrow also is -- je mehr ich trinke ...) but they're not all done -- I figure if they're late, they might as well be late. Plus I'm not going to have time to mail them for the next couple of days.

I feel relatively on top of things. Not everything is completed to one hundred percent closure, and there are things I want to do and read and drink and review and play and learn and dance and cook; people with whom I want to hang out, but the fact is that I could spare this valentine-making evening, and I could spare the time for a cup of Darjeeling after lunch today, and for cooking the best Indian food I've ever made (from Madhur Jaffrey, a curried rice with eggs) with Allison before she picked mp3s from my computer she wanted while I brought Joel-O's laptop onto my Ikea loveseat and wrote and simultaneously typeset a paper rigorously explaining mathematical induction from start to finish -- with a complete knowledge of the subject at hand, it was just an exercise in writing, which was lovely and affirming. (Got my first ever WA conference on it Saturday afternoon, about which I am not excited, and which also means that I'll have to enter Cornell (the science library) for the first time ever. That streak had to be broken if I was actually going to minor in CS, though, I guess. Suckin' it up.) The curry was basic, with a few small twists that made all the difference. One tablespoon butter; one onion; one apple. Three teaspoons curry powder (Madras style, ibid.; made fresh); one half-cup basmati rice; one half-cup raisins. Along with a white sauce which came out brown for the wheat flower, four broken eggs, and four successfully hard-boiled ones (and, I admit, a little store-bought mango chutney), and with Allison's spontaneous mango lassies, it was the best I've eaten in a while. And my work was completed. And I am getting at least semi-regular sleep. Woke up the other day mentally closing off my sleep cycle and shutting off my alarm clock with sets of parentheses, one line ended with about six )))s à la the king of recursion, Scheme -- good to know it's sinking in to my hypnagogic consciousness, like it recently did with Perl. Weekends seem to be a catch-up time of sorts, and I haven't been to any campus parties yet, but I'm not really missing them. I'm perhaps slowly becoming the reclusive junior I observed rather critically freshman year -- not antisocial, but not actively gregarious -- or it could just be that I now really don't know the younger half of the school. But if I have to pick between reviewing spectrograms; playing Schumann with a masterful coach whose very piano playing maniuplates the string body like a skilled lover or a waltz or tango partner who knows how to lead; learning Perl CGI scripting; learning about pitched languages; composing bits of twelve-tone and analyzing Hildegard's O Virga ac diadema (which cantatrix sang my freshman spring of 2000!); listening alternatingly to plainchant and Berg's Violin Concerto; learning a new paradigm of programming thought and more of the formal symbolic logical tools of math -- if I have to pick between those and meeting this year's frosh, I think I'll stick to my already-established schedule, thank you.

Klimtish valentine distribution tomorrow, along with about six thousand other things. I miss those kids in Wien. A little coffee; a little Klimt ... Happy Valentine's day.

Sunday morning and before my commencing the making of my ritual Gravity's Rainbow French Toast for Joel-O and his brother Jacob, here for the weekend, I'm coding to Yes. I was hearing a piano reduction of Brahms' 2 in my head, and realized that Tormato would be perfect for this morning, a little reading on binary trees, homework based thereon, and more of this Perl script for work if I can justify it. It's a beautiful sunny day out, I'm going to go play Beethoven Third in a few hours (PYO concert), and hopefully I have time enough for my homework.

Friday afternoon I got paid to write a Perl script for hours, which pleased me no end and I think disgusted Claire a little, asking how many languages do you know now, and I bet you'll come away from this fluent in Bamileke Dschang [the language with whose data I'm working]. But that's just it, in a way -- part of my immense glee at this new employment is that I learned half the necessary tools I need to do it over winter break, on a whim; and the other half stems from the fact that I'm not just dealing with scripting any old .db files into presentable formats, but linguistic one, in whose content I'm very interested.

I came home still grinning (perhaps it was the coffee and square of orange chocolate procured at the around-the-corner Avril 50 next to the IRCS), to find a dinner party beginning to rage. This one was in honor of freshman Ed, whom we'd met just post-February Dip, or rather, his recent question to Ross: just what is in a quiche, anyhow? I think we ended up with three quiche and ten people or so, and maybe four bottles wine. I had a lovely time and woke up suddenly at seven a.m. the next morning, alarmless, in perfect time for orchestra. Saturday afternoon brought another try at Liquor World (brought my valid drivers' license this time, o ye bitches and hos of Delaware), and an eventual dinner chez Rosenkoetter. Attempts to absorb a computerized lambda calculus disintegrated into Rebecca bodily picking me off my loveseat and depositing me on my bed, turning off the lights, and telling me goodnight.

Yesterday the button on the white pants Alyssa gave me (I'm thinking of dying them orange; even though they'd go with less, they're just a little too preppy for me now) popped off without warning, and to fix it I had to locate the little bag I keep of thread and sundry. I laughed when I found the white -- it's a small cylindrical tube of warm white thread, procured last year when two or three of Martin's buttons on his belovèd orange shirt came off, and I took the initiative to fix it. A closer inspection of what I actually got 10 months ago shows it to be Gütermann, a lovely German variety of thread. I laughed, first at the last thing I'd sewn with this thread, and next at its appropriate country of origin.

And it feels good to laugh, so even if Mahler does slay me from time to time, I really do have enough perspective to reënsconse the former above my desk in his place of honor (thank you to Claire for making the poster stick), and that now I'm listening to the association-heavy Yes, geeking to my fullest, and am loving it.

We sang along to the french toast (Gravity's Rainbow is a musical! --Ross). Joel-O made mochas all around and asserted that there was no other way to drink coffee. Between the amount of powdered sugar on that five-stack high of Italian-bread based french banana GR toast and the coffee my lovely "nurturing-his-inner-barrista" (John at work) roommate made, I was caffeine-hyped to kick some violistic ass.

Concert black again, rushing out the door to New Jersey, where ten minutes of spot practicing allowed me to play every single note of the Eroica, Respighi Fountains of Rome, some NBC WWII made-for-television awfulness, and the Carmen (fourth time i've performed the damn thing; not a problem). Prim smiling. Rosin clouding dramatically off my bow on the crying dissonance at the end of the prelude to the Argonnaise. Turns out my girls in the viola section (Johnell, Celina, Wendy) are all going on tour to China -- I want to join them!

My Hawelka poster came! via Oliver's mother: which I purchased in Vienna, then left on the train when I changed lines in Salz burg, and then emailed Flo to say I'd left, which he then repurchased for me, gave to Oliver when he was there over Winter break so he could take back with him and give to me, which Oliver then left at his father's house in Klosterneuburg, and had mailed to his house outside of Philly, which his mother then brought to the concert. Beautiful -- vielen Dank, Flo!!

Dinner almost ready; I sautéed mushrooms with long-awaited sherry! and ate with Ross and Joel-O -- the former of whom ran off; the latter of whom with whom I had orange Pims!! and tea, discussing apartment dynamics and flirtatiousness. Schade that the the only things to which I'm currently viscerally attracted are orange Pims, steaming Earl Gray leaves, my mother's sherry-and-tarragon mushrooms, and {x | x E {Mahler,Beethoven}}.

bartók string quartet
it may be atonal but i did math to it for years
green tea (the best in china)
and gruyère with the early-morning new york times
textbook thick as the atonalism
without which i couldn't decipher the eigenvectors and matrices
which mom called noise

this morning in the french cheese and fresh bagels,
paper retrieved from the stoop of the barn;
this evening in the bartók and recursive algorithms.

bubble tea

bubble tea

The day started out somewhere in what Germans refer to as something containing seven, but is actually before the sogenannte hour. A superspeedy-toasted bagel, minimally creamcheesed and duly complained (one portion is just not enough; Lisa, Olivia, and I killed five between us) and overpriced chai at the pretentious but conveniently located 19th and Locust Tuscany Cafe. Eight a.m. or whatever time it was after the lovely SEPTA [1] broke down and the lovelier conductor who refuses to give the four of us PYO-trekkers family tickets insisted he had to finish collecting fares before he could get the train going, even without lights in our car and a forced removal to the other. The Maestro completely punchy and inappropriate at rehearsal, more so than usual. That disregarded, we sawed through the Schubert (7), Piston (2), and Jongen symphonies before hiking down to Penang for a reëmersion into Philly's wonderful Chinatown, under the Arch spanning not the street to which it gives its name, but rather Tenth. The roti canai with dipping curry sybaris and the hold-the-shrimp mee siam (#12) easily made up for the discrepancy, however, kicking both Oliver and Lisa's orders' asses. And that much mountainous noodles I can't eat at once; there's dinner now tomorrow in the fridge.

Swinging from Penang up and down to Chung Mai's grocery on Race and 11th, where Christmas for Joel-O was procured in the form of red thai curry paste (we're not out but I don't ever want to be), green tea, mango [black] tea, three chinese teacups, a japanese tea mug, a beautiful bowl, Lizzy and my seventh-grade "yummy bean things" which Rebecca asserted have a name, mochi (I must admit I was surprised when others understood the term, like discovering French was a real language I could use to communicate and not some arbitrary set of Latinate paradigms they taught us in school), and a sink drainer sieve. The wonders of the Orient! I mused at breakfast that I should apply for at Watson fellowship to go study the best green teas in China à la Wikler (père) -- the least I could do in exchange for having systematically decimated his rank-ordered supply to the tune of Bartók, gruyère, and the New York Times.

bubble tea Met the freak wonder that is bubble tea in a chinese bakery around the corner. Extant since 1983ish, and the recent rage in New York, this tea plus black tapioca pearls has migrated down to mainstream Philly Chinatown. Oliver, Lisa, and I each got one -- he drained his; she finished most of hers; I was rather shocked with each bubble, and not entirely pleasantly so. They were chewy and sat in your stomach like little organic marbles. At least I had a fat orange straw to make me happy. Predicting nightmares about tapioca pearls shooting up the oversize straw at me when all I wanted was sweetened black tea with milk, I finally stopped all intake of tea or bubbles on the train ride back but held onto the cup for amusement value. Ben S., playing guitar and drinking a beer on the front porch of the barn, made the shocked face I had and proclaimed it freaky or funky or weird shit or some appropriate term (which it indeed was -- all of the above). Joel-O's face contorted similarly, woah!. Ross took to slurping five or so pearls at a time shloop shloop shloop shloop shloop, black silhouettes through the orange plastic straw purposely big enough to let them pass, and then returning the cup and its dwindling contents to the table. This started around 3 p.m. when I returned; at 3 a.m. when I now am making my way back from Worth J and K, the bubbles are still shloop being consumed shloop sporadically.

My WA conference was painless, which left me almost disappointed, because I now have less to complain about in that degree. Joel and Peter, the latter of the fraternal violin-playing triumvirate, had each picked out the same line in Unbearable Lightness, which they're both currently reading, with which to take issue -- the "in the love poetry of every age ..." one, in the initial philosophic exposition of the polarizations of lightness and weight, and I defended my Lieblingsbuch to my roommate (who wasn't, in fairness, attacking it) before grabbing an all-too-short nap and a shower, throwing a sandwich of pesto gado-gado muenster and spinach on oatnut into the sandwich tupperware (the use of which gives me such compartmentalizing pleasure it's ridiculous), wrapped a fresh mochi up in tinfoil, and nabbed the thermos for mango tea purposes.

PYO's concert was in Wayne tonight, and with Celina with a swollen arm or some such hindering injury, I was up front staring directly at the stage lights as I tried to follow the baton, and which put me first on the Respighi (Fountains). Except for a few flaws which were to be expected, the concert came off quite well, and I'm sad to leave Eroica for an indefinite amount of time. Johnell "there are sticks in my tea" Lawrence ridiculed my food but drank the mangoness anyhow; I utterly failed to accomplish any reading and instead worked on Lisa's chinese needlepoint before consuming dinner and playing the show.

-- This is all narrative until I decided to go to the Willets 1st South freshman year reunion Hall Crawl, in Worth K. Two margaritas didn't leave me feeling anything except a flavorful memory of Laurel and her penchant for tequila, and I wasn't feeling the groove anyways and was thinking about heading home when Paul started extolling EJ's balcony and the virtues of tufaahtayn (the dual-case apple) in his(?) (n)argila.

The smell put me over the edge fast. At 00:18:47 -0500 (from the timestamp on a one-liner headed six time zones east) I was enjoying the redolence; probably ten minutes past that the redolence was enjoying me. There's only one other place I've ever smoked a water pipe, and only one other person with whom I've ever smoked apple tobacco [a balcony in Munich / do I need to spell it out].

The exhaustion -- which had been building from the minimal previous night's sleep ("we're going dancing!" said Alyssarobanlaureljenny&c., and so I shook it at Paces for a delightful spell), a subsequent morning rehearsal, forays in the cold with a viola on my back, and a concert -- peaked, and Parmenides gave it up for Kundera, just as I'd both then and this afternoon asserted he wouldn't, in the thickly symbolic-smelling smoke emanating from the cold balcony.

Jeanne heard me from her adjacent window in J, poked her head and then her self out briefly, and we rewriggled down into her cozily and eclectically decorated space, sat on the bed with a red candle burning, and talked relationships [2] until I could hold my voice steady and until my tear ducts were added to the enumeration of my exhausted body.

I couldn't even make the calming bread I wanted to, as the only yeast in the house is Nutritional. Before the toast ritual tomorrow morning uses up all the bread in the house (precious oatnut), I may bestir my ass to the coöp to obtain such things as are necessary to make the shit rise.

Because it's the status quo, and I deal with it as I can.

From the Joel and Nori Bovine Excrement List:

[1] SEPTA is bullshit!
[2] Relationships are bullshit!

Losin' love is like a window in your heart
everybody sees you're blown apart
everybody hears the wind blow ...

all this ©nori heikkinen, February 2002

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